Giving Students Flexibility for Graduation Requirements
10/12/2018
Giving Students Flexibility for Graduation Requirements

As a way to ensure students get the most out of their educational experience, the House passed legislation this week that would remove the heavy focus on standardized testing as a requirement to graduate and instead allow students various options to show proficiency in pursuing their own career paths.

Senate Bill 1095 would provide Pennsylvania students with additional options to fulfill high school graduation requirements beyond the Keystone Exams. Students who do not score proficient on the Keystone Exams would be able to demonstrate their readiness to graduate through alternative routes.

Specifically, the bill outlines several commonsense options for assessing student performance while also giving teachers more flexibility with classroom instruction time. Some alternatives include a student’s successful completion of work-based learning programs, a service learning project, or an offer of full-time employment as evidence of post-secondary readiness.

As part of the bill, the Keystone Exam graduation requirement would be put on hold until the 2021-22 school year. The alternate graduation options in Senate Bill 1095 would take effect when that delay expires.

This legislation, which now goes back to the Senate, seeks to enhance a multi-bill package to expand career and technical education to benefit both students and employers looking to fill jobs in high-demand fields.
 
 
House Passes Bill to Crack Down on Hazing


Legislation that seeks to better ensure the safety of students on college campuses by cracking down on hazing passed the House this week.

Senate Bill 1090 is a comprehensive overhaul of the state’s anti-hazing law to give law enforcement better tools to prosecute hazing-related activities and to encourage those nearby to call for assistance for someone who may need help.

Specifically, the bill would increase penalties for those involved in hazing; require schools to have policies and reporting procedures in place to stop hazing; and ensure that parents and students are provided with information related to the issue. The legislation also would establish clear parameters on hazing for organizations such as fraternities and sororities.

The legislation is named in memory of Tim Piazza, a Penn State student who died as a result of hazing in 2017 and was denied medical care for hours. The measure now heads back to the Senate for concurrence.
 
 
Feds Extend REAL ID Grace Period
 
Pennsylvania has been granted an extended grace period to comply with REAL ID requirements set by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The grace period was set to expire Oct. 10, 2018, but has now been extended until Aug. 1, 2019. A final federal deadline for all states to comply is Oct. 1, 2020.

This grace period extension means that Pennsylvania residents will not face access issues when entering federal facilities or boarding commercial aircraft through at least Aug. 1, 2019.

REAL ID is voluntary for Pennsylvania residents, but encouraged for those who may need to access certain federal facilities, such as military bases, or fly commercial flights within the United States. Residents also have the option to use other, non-REAL ID forms of enhanced identification. Click here for that list.

https://www.dhs.gov/real-id-public-faqs
Residents wishing to obtain REAL ID-compliant driver’s licenses and photo ID cards can obtain them, beginning in March 2019. In the meantime, customers are encouraged to pre-verify for REAL ID the required documentation as soon as possible, giving them ample time to prepare.

One of the required documents is a certified copy of a birth certificate, which can take up to several months to process, depending on one’s circumstances. My office can help residents with birth certificate applications. Call or stop by for more information.

More information about REAL ID, including frequently asked questions, can be found at dmv.pa.gov.
  
 
McAutumnFest Scheduled for Oct. 20 in McCandless
 

 
After the Town of McCandless had to cancel this year’s Community Day earlier this month, the town announced McAutumnFest for Saturday, Oct. 20, from 1-7:15 p.m. at the Town Hall grounds on Grubbs Road.

The day will include vendors, crafters, performance acts and children’s activities. The day will conclude with a fireworks show at 7:15 p.m. Make sure you stop by our booth, where we will have valuable information about state programs and will be answering your questions. We hope to see you there!
 
 
Serving Our Veterans
 
When our nation’s military men and women return home after service, they not only deserve our gratitude, but often times need our help. My district office in McCandless will be hosting veterans’ outreach hours on Friday, Oct. 26.

Openings are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. by appointment only. Please call my office at 412-369-2230 to schedule an appointment.

During these special hours, a veteran’s outreach specialist will meet with local veterans and assist them with issues they may be having accessing benefits and services from the U.S. Veterans Administration.

It gives me great satisfaction to make programs available to our men and women who have served with such dignity. Veterans are a symbol of what makes our country great, and we must never forget all they have done to ensure our freedom.
For more information, contact my district office in McCandless at 125 Hillvue Lane, first floor, McCandless.
 
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